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Webinar: From Living History to Living the History

The Pickering Museum Village has called itself a living history museum for many years.  Lack of resources made the reality much different. An independent Master Site Use Study prompted a wake-up call in 2018.  Beginning with a hard look at permanent exhibits, and what staff wanted the visitor experience to be, PMV staff began what they call a shift from living history to living the history. Two and half years and a pandemic later, Katrina Pyke and Ellen Tayles-Armstrong will share how it all started, where it is now, and what the next years look like.  They will explore the need for museums to challenge the status quo and adapt to changing visitor expectations and patterns; how to shift a deeply rooted community museum culture; and how to accept that what the museum was doing in the past isn’t working. 

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Katrina Pyke and Ellen Tayles-Armstrong have over 45 combined years’ experience in the museum sector.  Katrina's expertise is in hands-on experiential program development.  Ellen's expertise is in finding new and innovative ways to exhibit history.  Together, they have re-envisioned two heritage building interiors from static, authentic living history spaces that depended on staff to connect with the visitor, to dynamic, fun, interactive, self-directed installations where visitors can live the history. For years they have balanced preservation of the collection with hands-on programming, which they have carried through into these newly developed spaces.


As General Manager, Wendy Rowney is responsible for heritage operations and visitor experiences at Black Creek Pioneer Village.  After completing a MA in History from Western University and a Masters in Museum Studies from the University of Toronto, she “graduated” into the world of living history and has spent over 25 years bringing the past to life.  As co-director of a qualitative research study into visitor engagement in North American history museums, Wendy understands how to build and maintain successful visitor experiences within a heritage setting.

Online - Zoom

Feb 01, 2022


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